ZANU PF made major concessions on the allocation of provincial governors’ posts and the National Security Council when negotiators of the country’s inclusive government met in South Africa on Wednesday.
Sources close to the talks told the Zimbabwe Independent that Zanu PF and the two MDC formations agreed on a formula to share equitably the governors’ posts and also resolved that the unity government will tackle the outstanding issues on the appointment of permanent secretaries and ambassadors, among others.
This was despite Zanu PF’s earlier stance that governors appointed by President Robert Mugabe last August would only be replaced if vacancies arose.
The sources said the negotiators – Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour minister Nicholas Goche from Zanu PF, secretary-general Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer Elton Mangoma from MDC-T,Â and Welshman Ncube and Priscillah Misihairabwi-Mushonga from the other MDC formation – agreed to use the results of the March 29 House of Assembly and Senate elections to allocate the governors’ posts.
Under this formula, the sources said, the MDC-T would get five posts, Zanu PF four and the other MDC one, but the negotiators referred the matter to their principals after Mugabe’s party insisted on having five posts.
The MDC-T, the sources said, would appoint governors in Harare, Bulawayo, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Manicaland if the formula is adopted by the principals while Mugabe will have the three Mashonaland provinces and Midlands. The other MDC would appoint a governor in Matabeleland South.
“After Zanu PF insisted on also having five governors, the negotiators referred the matter to the principals and recommended that whoever ends up with four governors’ posts should be allowed to appoint a minister of state,” one of the sources said.
The sources said before agreeing to this formula, Zanu PF had proposed to use the March 29 elections (popular vote) to determine the distribution of governors and this would have resulted in it getting six posts, MDC-T four and the other MDC none.
“The proposal was rejected because it defeated the purpose of power-sharing when one of the parties was going to be left with nothing,” the source added.
Under the proposal, Zanu PF was going to appoint governors in the three Mashonaland provinces, Matabeleland North, Masvingo and Midlands and MDC-T in Harare, Bulawayo, and Matabeleland South and Manicaland.
The sources said the negotiators agreed on the National Security Council Bill drafted by the MDC-T.
“The negotiators agreed that the new cabinet will have to deal with the issues pertaining to the appointment of permanent secretaries, ambassadors and other key government appointments,” the source said.
An inclusive government should be formed by next Friday.
Constitutional Amendment No 19 that gives legal effect to the power-sharing deal was passed by parliament yesterday.
The Bill creates the position of prime minister to be filled by Tsvangirai plus two deputies – his deputy president in the MDC-T Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mutambara, the leader of the MDC.
Nelson Chamisa, MDC-T spokesperson, yesterday confirmed the breakthrough in resolving the outstanding issues.
“Our negotiating team advised us that there was an agreement on some of the outstanding issues, mainly on the governors and the National Security Council Bill,” Chamisa said. “As a result we are going to have a common position and shared understanding in the passing of Constitutional Amendment No 19 Bill today (yesterday). It is our hope that the other remaining issues, particularly the abductions of our members and human rights activists and charges against our secretary-general (Tendai Biti) will be urgently dealt with and resolved.”
BY DUMISANI MULEYA